Try Open Shelves for a Chic Kitchen Makeover

Try Open Shelves for a Chic Kitchen Makeover

Try Open Shelves for a Chic Kitchen Makeover

Roger Davies


If you’d been renovating your kitchen just a few years ago, wall-mounted cabinets that lived above your countertops would have been a forgone conclusion. But today, open shelves have become a sort of decorator’s standard. Maybe it’s the trend towards eliminating clutter—thank you Marie Kondo—or maybe it’s an overall leaning towards simplicity. Either way: We’re into it. Ahead are 20 kitchens of varying decor styles (modern, rustic, vintage, traditional), all making open shelving work wonders.

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Glass and GOld

In this Cape Cod cottage, the small kitchen’s custom-made cabinetry is painted in Tanner’s Brown, and the walls are in Cream, both by Farrow & Ball; glass open shelves on gold brackets display vintage dishes. The countertops are butcher block, the sink fittings are by Waterworks and the Wedgewood stove is antique.

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Wood Cubbies

In this all-white kitchen, wood cubbies are installed on top of white cabinets for an added dimension of storage.

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Wood With Rails

Floating wooden shelves are consistent with the clean lines and minimalist style in this Colorado butler’s pantry designed by BK Interior Design.

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Wood on Tile

In Athena Calderone’s kitchen, open shelves of reclaimed wood line the walls, contrasting basaltina lava stone countertop and black cabinets with leather handles.

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Gray on Shiplap

This bright and airy cottage-style space designed by CK Interior Design features simple floating shelves that serve both form and function. In a minimalist, uncluttered kitchen, shelving can be elevated with decorative touches, like plants or cookbooks

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White on White

In Marisa Tomei’s home, the small kitchen is outfitted with built-in floating shelves that make use of a slim zone beside the fridge that might be otherwise wasted. The range is by Viking, the dishwasher is by Asko and the flooring is cork.

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Custom Simplicity

The country home of the Kasliwal family—owners of the legendary Indian jewelry house Munnu the Gem Palace—is in a converted cowshed on the outskirts of Jaipur. In the kitchen, the custom cabinetry was made by a local artisan; brass urns hold wheat, rice, and other grains.

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Wood and Brass Border

The highlight of the Brazilian-inspired kitchen in the Bucket List family’s Hawaii home are the bold green cabinets, which the family chose to complement with a subdued backsplash and a border of warm wooden shelves mounted on simple brass brackets.

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Grid XO Tiles, Floating Shelves

“I love the XO relief tiles that create the white backsplash,” Christene Barberich says of her New York City home. “They’re just fun because you might not notice the pattern until you’re up close.” Atop of the subtle tiles are floating shelves, one wood, one white, stocked with oft-used spices, oils, and salts.

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Small and Baby Blue

Baby blue cabinets, floating shelves and tin tile backsplash look all the more soft and serene next to a marigold range in this space by Randall Architects.

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Marble Floating Shelves

In Aimee Song’s kitchen in Los Angeles, three-inch marble countertops—most are one-inch—are echoed in shelves.

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Citron Shelves

Sophia Amoruso’s kitchen makes a statement with a wall of floating shelves painted in a cheery citron tone.

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Light Wood

Malibu-based interior designer Taylor Ogle transformed the kitchen in her parents’ Norman-style house on Washington’s Bainbridge Island into a contemporary space that’s full of character. Highlights include open shelving in a light wood tone and floor-to-ceiling glossed white tiles.

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Glass Over Windows

Brick walls offer a cozy backdrop in a kitchen from Lisa Berman Design; in order to maximize storage space without blocking the light from a window, transparent glass shelves were mounted right over.

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Skinny White Shelf

A single slim white shelf runs the length of one wall in this zen kitchen.

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White, Green Tile, Wood

In this cool space by Maren Baker Design, white floating shelves sit atop an extended backsplash of green subway tiles, all contrasting nicely with oak butcher block countertops.

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Two Wood Rows

Chic wood shelves and white ceramics offer up an immaculate, healthy ambience in this space from Hannah Childs Interior Design.